Brain Cancer Survivor Conquers 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 Days

January 29, 2017

(Washington, DC) –  BethAnn Telford, an endurance athlete with brain cancer, successfully completed the 2017 World Marathon Challenge on seven continents in seven consecutive days. Telford was the only cancer survivor and only American woman in the race.  She ran to raise global awareness about brain cancer and raise $1 million for research supported by ABC2 (Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure).   

2017 World Marathon Challenge Competitors

The 33 competitors from 13 different countries ran in Union Glacier, Antarctica; Punta Arenas, Chile; Miami, USA; Madrid, Spain; Marrakech, Morocco; Dubai, UAE and Sydney, Australia.  Participants spent about 60 hours in the air flying 38,000 km from the start point in Antarctica to the finish in Australia. Finishers ran 295 km or 183 miles in total.  

Other notable competitors included: America’s Michael Wardian, who won every World Marathon Challenge race and ran sub 3 hours in every location, including a windy Antarctica in -30C windchill temperatures.  Ireland's Sinead Kane became the first blind person to complete the event. She was guided by John O'Regan.

“BethAnn’s completion of the World Marathon Challenge is a remarkable and heroic story,” said Max Wallace, CEO of ABC2. “She is our longtime friend and a champion for the brain tumor community.  We are very proud of her.”

Telford, 47, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2005 and still has active cancer cells in her body.  She has not driven a car in 12 years because she has seizures often and is blind in her left eye. Her brain cancer also affected her bladder, which led to a surgery for a major bladder augmentation.

“I’ve overcome so many obstacles because of this cancer,” said Telford. “As I ran around the world, I found a way to push through the pain and the fatigue by remembering the people I’m representing.  I wish to be an example of hope and inspiration to so many others fighting cancer or anyone who has faced a setback in their life.”

“The hardest day of the seven marathons was probably Dubai as it was extremely hot and I had to really listen to my body and slow down,” said Telford.  “My best day was in USA when we ran Miami.  I got to see my parents, Robert and Susanne Telford, as well as many friends that came to support me and run along with me.”

Telford, who started running marathons 15 years ago, ran to raise funds for brain cancer research. It was especially important for her to honor the children diagnosed with the disease.

"Since I wasn’t able to have kids, I’ve 'adopted' hundreds and hundreds of children [with pediatric cancer] where I’ve tried to instill in them, and their families, that there’s hope," she said. During the marathons, Telford said she ran with pictures of those children clipped to her race belt. She also wore New Balance running shoes, decorated by the children.

Telford trained for the World Marathon Challenge for more than a year.  She typically worked out three hours a day by doing a variety of running, strength and core exercise routines. Her yoga training was sponsored by CorePower Yoga and her performance t-shirts were sponsored by Sport Science.

Since 2005, Telford has raised more than $835,000 for brain cancer research.  Her goal is to cross the million-dollar mark with donations supporting her World Marathon Challenge.  After her race in Sydney, she received the World Marathon Challenge Sportsmanship Award for $5,000 sponsored by Peakside Capital.  Donations can be made at www.btwmc.org.  The donations support ABC², a Washington DC-based venture philanthropy nonprofit organization that drives cutting-edge research and treatments for brain cancer and brain tumors. 

Telford knew she would not be the first to cross the finish line. “My finish line is when these kids and adults have a cure for cancer,” said Telford.  “This epic adventure has truly made me realize that there are so many more people around the world that need advocates such as myself.  I have met, or heard from, so many beautiful individuals over this journey that have a vested interested in finding a cure.” 

About ABC² (Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure)

ABC² is focused on speeding the discovery of a cure for brain cancer. By applying an aggressive, venture funding approach not typically seen in the nonprofit sector, ABC² closes the current gaps in funding in order to catalyze research and rapidly bring new therapies to patients. ABC² has awarded more than 100 grants totaling $20 million in brain tumor research funding to highly qualified investigators and physician-scientists from 54 institutions and companies. To learn more, visit www.abc2.org.

For all media and press inquiries, please contact:  Nicola Beddow, ABC2 - nicola.beddow@abc2.org